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Tag Archive | "tornado"

Over the rainbow


Last week the Post ran a photo of the rainbow that splashed across the sky while we were under a tornado warning April 26. But the photo that D.M. White brought in this week shows the rainbow in much more vivid color. The photo was taken on Pine Lake Road, in Courtland Township, by D.M.’s neighbor, Rich Ruugi. Thanks, D.M. and Rich!

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Rainbow in the midst of the storm


Post photo by J. Reed

Severe storms with heavy rain, wind, lightning, hail and funnel clouds raced across West Michigan Tuesday, leaving some damage and rising water in its wake.
Tornado sirens went off here in Cedar Springs and all across Kent County, when clouds with rotation were spotted southeast of here, heading in a line from Grattan to Greenville. Pea and marble-sized hail was seen in isolated spots across our area, and even bigger south of Grand Rapids.
In the midst of the storm, a rainbow appeared to the east of Cedar Springs, which we managed to capture on camera, despite the rain.

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Keep an eye to the sky


This is a photo of the Willow, Michigan tornado near Detroit in June, 2010.

April showers might bring May flowers, but they are also a sign that another severe weather season is here. Residents should remember to keep an eye to the sky when attending outdoor events.

“With hundreds of fun outdoor activities each year throughout Michigan, it is important to know what do if you are outside and severe weather strikes,” said Rich Pollman, Chair of the Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Committee.

* Remember the following when you are attending outside events:

* Check the weather forecast before leaving your house.

* When you arrive check around for the nearest shelter.

* Seek shelter when you first hear thunder, see dark threatening clouds developing overhead or lightning.  Count the seconds between the time you see lightning and hear the thunder.  You should already be in a safe location if that time is less than 30 seconds.

* If you can’t find a shelter, get into a fully enclosed vehicle. Put your head down below the windows, covering it with your hands or blanket.

* Stay inside until 30 minutes after you last hear thunder. Lightning can strike more than 10 miles away from any rainfall.

To assist those planning outdoor events, the Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness has developed a brochure to help develop an emergency plan those organizing farmers’ markets, fairs and concerts. It is available on the website, www.mcswa.com.

In 2010, tornadoes and thunderstorms resulted in one death, 22 injuries and $360 million in damages in Michigan.  Flooding caused another $7 in damages.

It is important for Michiganians to be familiar with severe weather alerts.  A tornado watch or severe thunderstorm watch simply means that severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are possible.  Residents should gather a first aid kit, flashlight and portable radio or their emergency supply kit.  They should monitor the weather through local television, radio or NOAA weather radio.

A tornado warning means that a tornado has been sighted or is indicated on Doppler Radar.  Go immediately to the basement or a small interior room on the lowest level.  Keep away from chimneys and windows.  Leave mobile homes and find shelter in a sturdy building.

When a thunderstorm warning is issued for your area, get indoors immediately and do not use the telephone or electrical appliances. Keep away from windows.  Do not take shelter in sheds or under isolated trees. If you are out boating and swimming, get to land and find a sturdy shelter immediately.

To prepare for severe weather, the Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness suggests that you:

* Plan ahead. Be sure everyone in your household knows where to go and what to do in case of severe weather.  Make plans for those who may have trouble getting to shelter.

* Have emergency supplies on hand, including a battery-operated radio, a flashlight and a fresh supply of batteries.

* Know the shelter locations in public buildings, such as work, schools and shopping centers.

* Make a list of household furnishings and other items.  Take photographs of each room.  Store the list and photos in safe place.

* Have an emergency communication plan.  Know how to reach family and friends if you are unable to meet at home.

* Create an emergency plan for your pets.

See below for more safety tips, or visit the Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness website at www.mcswa.com. The Committee is also on Facebook.

SevereWeatherPacket

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Dealing with a tornado or thunderstorm


Plan ahead.  Be sure everyone in your household knows where to go and what to do in case of a tornado warning.

Know the safest location for shelter in your home, workplace and school.  Load bearing walls near the center of the basement or lowest level generally provide the greatest protection.

Know the location of designated shelter areas in local public facilities, such as schools, shopping centers and other public buildings.

Have emergency supplies on hand, including a battery-operated radio, flashlight and a supply of fresh batteries, first-aid kit, water and cell phone.

Make an inventory of household furnishings and other possessions.  Supplement it with photographs of each room.  Keep in a safe place.

What to do when a thunderstorm approaches your area:

Seek safe shelter when you first hear thunder, see dark threatening clouds developing overhead or lightning.  Count the seconds between the time you see lightning and hear the thunder.  You should already be in a safe location if that time is less than 30 seconds.  Stay inside until 30 minutes after you last hear thunder.  Lightning can strike more than 10 miles away from any rainfall!

When you hear thunder, run to the nearest large building or a fully enclosed vehicle (soft-topped convertibles are not safe).  You are not safe anywhere outside.

If you are boating or swimming, get to land and shelter immediately.

Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity.  Unplug appliances not necessary for receiving weather information.  Use plug-in telephones only in an emergency.

What to do when a tornado warning is issued for your area:

Quickly move to shelter in the basement or lowest floor of a permanent structure.

In homes and small buildings go to the basement and get under something sturdy, like a workbench or stairwell.  If no basement is available, go to an interior part of the home on the lowest level.  A good rule of thumb is to put as many walls between you and the tornado as possible.

In schools, hospitals and public places move to designated shelter areas.  Interior hallways on the lowest floors are generally best.

Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls.  Broken glass and wind blown projectiles cause more injuries and deaths than collapsed buildings.  Protect your head with a pillow, blanket or mattress.

If you are caught outdoors, seek shelter in a basement, shelter or sturdy building.  If you cannot quickly walk to a shelter you should immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter.

If flying debris occurs while you are driving, pull over and park.

As a last resort, stay in the car with the seat belt on.  Put your head down below the windows, covering with your hands and a blanket if possible.

If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, exit your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.

If you are boating or swimming, get to land and shelter immediately.

After a tornado/thunderstorm:

Inspect your property and motor vehicles for damage.  Write down the date and list damages for insurance purposes.  Check for electrical problems and gas leaks and report them to the utility company at once.

Watch out for fallen power lines.  Stay out of damaged buildings until you are sure they are safe and will not collapse.  Secure your property from further damage or theft.

Use only approved or chlorinated supplies of drinking water.  Check food supplies.

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